Another generation IV variant, the molten-salt reactor
, is safer than earlier designs because it can cool itself even if the system loses power completely.
The molten-salt reactor
(MSR) is one of six systems being explored as part of the next wave of power plants and SMRs.
The ultimate goal of the Shanghai Institute: to build a molten-salt reactor that could replace the 1970s-era technology in today's nuclear power plants and help wean China off the coal that fouls the air of Shanghai and Beijing, ushering in an era of cheap, abundant, zero-carbon energy.
And the way to break that link was the thorium molten-salt reactor.
The second, the Molten-Salt Reactor
Experiment, ran between 1965 and 1969 and validated many of the principles of the fluoride reactor concept.
Researchers at Oak Ridge first demonstrated a molten-salt reactor
in the 1960s, and they have tested various designs over the past several decades.
Dewan's name for the technology: the Waste-Annihilating Molten-Salt Reactor
The thorium-uranium fuel cycle, by contrast, works especially well in molten-salt reactors
, in which the radioactive elements are dissolved in molten fluoride or sodium salts.
The Chinese have identified molten-salt reactors
as a high development priority and are planning to start up a small prototype device within two years.
The reader may disagree with some of the proposed countermeasures to protect America against lean times ahead, such as fostering the undeveloped nuclear technology of thorium molten-salt reactors
, or going to war with Iran in order to put China on the defensive (given how America's wars tend to consume its limited resources, from tax dollars to human lives, this latter tactic is especially questionable from a strategic perspective, let alone an ethical/moral perspective), but the underlying warning--that today's era of peace and prosperity is ending simply due to the inescapable laws of supply of demand--needs to be heeded immediately.
were initially developed because of the attractive features they offered for powering aircraft and even spacecraft.
For years nuclear scientists have talked about a revival of molten-salt reactors
, which are powered by a liquid fuel rather than solid fuel rods, as a way to help spark the long-awaited "nuclear renaissance." Recent developments indicate that this alternative nuclear reactor design is finally making gradual progress toward commercialization.